Recently, I received a copy of The Bullywol Visitor, by author Cardigan Broadmoor. Described as a “Not for Children’s Book” (I’m not entirely certain what that means), it follows the strange intergalactic misadventures of Father Amblinsnow, an immortal being and sole inhabitant of Planet Fryng who, after eventually tiring of his days on his snowy homeworld, flies off into space. Encountering ancient mystical stars that teach him the knowledge of the universe (do I detect a hint of Lovecraft?), he then goes to the Moon where he is attacked by a Wild Wumpus (?) and finally journeys down to Earth where he lands in the Bullywol Mountains. I won’t say anymore for fear of spoiling the book.
I must say, I found this to be quite the charming read. Whereas most books aimed for children are fairly inspid and full of nothing but rainbows and smiles, not a hint of darkness to be found. Blech. However, in the tradition of Roald Dahl, The Bullywol Visitor doesn’t shy away from the darker, stranger elements of its quirky story. The artwork, drawn by Broadmoor, is reminiscent of Edward Gorey, albeit with a slightly Nordic/Pagan feel to it, which is only appropriate, as Broadmoor describes the concept of book (the first in a planned series) as creating a spookier, more Pagan version of Santa Claus/Father Christmas (the original title of the book was “The Spooky Christmas”). Orginally going to be one big book, he decided to split it up to multiple entries in a series. Says Broadmoor about his creation,
“Father Amblisnow is not really good or evil, as those orientations are generally perceived. He is a force of nature to be feared and respected. Like the 'Little People' of Irish folklore, his disposition towards you largely depends on your actions towards him; whatever way you treat him, he will treat you back thricefold. And even so, there is still a good chance his actions will be totally erratic. Remember, he is an immortal only child and not at all used to sharing or being told what to do!”
Broadmoor says that other projects he has in the works include the next volumes of the Father Amblinshow series, a semi-autobiographical novel, a faux behind-the-scenes tell-all book about a fictional Giallo filmmaker, and a radio play about a noir detective with an eating disorder.
I for one am looking forward to seeing the rest in the series, and I think this would make a book for young horror fans to read around Xmas.
4 out of 4 Skulls